If you're looking for a taco recipe that everyone will eat, you've come to the right place. Technically we could call this a vegan tofu taco recipe, but you don't have to be vegan to love it. Tacos are a universal favorite.
We've included options for those who prefer a vegetarian taco too.
We've also covered pretty much everything you've ever wanted to know about tofu - and a lot more besides - in our FAQs section.
First, though, here's how to make tofu tacos that will please everyone!
How to make Easy Tofu Tacos
Makes 8 tacos
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 28 oz extra-firm tofu (silken tofu will not work here)
- 1 large (or 2 medium) onion, finely chopped
- 1 bell pepper, cored, seeded, and finely chopped
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 2 tbs tamari (gluten-free), or soy sauce
- 4 tbs nutritional yeast*
*Nutritional yeast is the type of yeast that's used to brew beer and make bread, except it won't make bread rise: it's been grown specially to add to food. It's delicious because it tastes like cheese! Use it in recipes where you would use parmesan if you're vegan.
It's especially important for vegans as nutritional yeast is a source of B-12 vitamins which are otherwise only found in animal products.
- 8 large (or 16 small) flour or corn tortillas. (Use corn tortillas for a gluten-free option)
- Sharp Cheddar cheese, grated (if vegan, use dairy-free cheese)
- Sour cream (if vegan, try a dairy-free version like oat cream)
- Fresh cilantro, chopped (about 1 cup packed)
- Lettuce (any kind), shredded
- Prepared tomato salsa, fresh tomatoes, or make your own salsa (see below)
- Avocado,* sliced
- Jalapenos, chopped
- Dash of chipotle sauce
*To tell if an avocado is ripe, press gently next to the stem at the top. The avocado should give slightly. Ideally, it should also have an even color. If you only have hard avocados and you need them to ripen quickly, put them next to some bananas. The gas from the bananas will ripen any fruit placed next to them faster!
Optional side ingredients for tacos
- 2 cans of black beans, rinsed and drained. Heat up gently (you can heat them in the skillet)
- 2 cans of refried beans. Heat these up in a saucepan, adding a few tablespoons of water so they don't stick.
- Guacamole: The best friend of many a vegetarian or vegan taco. In a food processor (or chop yourself), mince 4 medium-sized tomatoes, 1 red onion, 1 handful fresh cilantro, and 4 ripe avocados. Add in the juice of 1 or 2 lemons, 1/2 tsp ground cumin, 1/2 tsp salt, and a dash of hot sauce (optional).
- 2 cups fresh salsa, on the side, or on top of your tacos. Simply chop up (or blitz in the food processor) 6 tomatoes, 1 red onion, 1/2 tsp salt, a dash of hot sauce if desired, and 1 handful of cilantro. Stir in 1 tbs lemon juice.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet.
- While the oil is heating, drain your tofu and crumble it with your fingers. Set it aside in a bowl or plate.
- Saute the onion until translucent, about 2-3 min. Then add the pepper to the skillet and saute for another minute.
- Add the spices (not the soy sauce or nutritional yeast) and stir for 1 min. (This will release the flavors in the spices.)
- Pour in the tamari or soy sauce and stir.
- Add the crumbled tofu, stirring gently.
- Sprinkle in the nutritional yeast, give it a quick stir, and remove from heat. Let the filling sit covered while you warm the tortillas.
- To warm the tortillas, you have several options. Here are two ways to do it while making the filling: You can wrap a stack of them in a damp towel or aluminum foil, and either put them in a casserole dish in the oven on low heat (250 F for about 20 minutes) or put them in a slow cooker, wrap them in the same way and keep them in that. Otherwise, you can warm them in the microwave: stack your tortillas, alternating each one with a damp paper towel, and microwave on high for 30 seconds to a minute. You may need to microwave it for a few seconds longer if you have more tortillas.
- Fill your tortillas with your cooked and spiced tofu and top it with your favorite toppings. The options are endless!
Tofu Tacos FAQs
#1 How do you crumble tofu?
The easiest way is with your fingers. Simply pick up the block of tofu and break it into little pieces. Be careful not to crumble it too much. Tofu for tacos needs to be in pieces that are a similar size to ground beef.
#2 How do you make tofu taste like ground beef?
If you or anyone in your house is missing the taste of ground beef, here's how to make tofu taste more like ground beef.
- Step one: Freeze it! By freezing and then thawing tofu, its texture will be more similar to that of ground beef. To freeze unopened tofu, put it in the freezer as is. For freezing opened tofu, drain the water and wrap your leftover tofu carefully in plastic wrap beforehand. Tofu that is frozen without being opened will keep for up to 6 months. Once opened tofu has been frozen, you'll want to use it within 3 months.
- Step two: Remove excess water by pressing your tofu. There will be extra water after it's been frozen. Then crumble it with your fingers.
- Step three: Cook and add the spices according to this vegan tacos with tofu recipe!
#4 Is tofu filling?
Tofu is filling and delicious! The great thing about tofu is that it's a form of meat-free protein that satisfies while leaving you light rather than heavy or bloated.
#5 Is tofu vegan?
Tofu is vegan, yes, because it's made from soybeans. There are no animal products in tofu. Vegetarians, meat-eaters and vegans can all enjoy the same meal together.
#6 How is tofu made?
Tofu is made from soybeans that are soaked, crushed, and then boiled. Then the resulting mass is separated into the pulp and the 'milk' (soy milk). Once the curds and whey are separated from the soy milk, the milk is poured into molds so that the whey can drain off, leaving blocks of tofu that are stored in water.
#7 What are the benefits of tofu?
Tofu is a healthy, low-fat form of protein (6-8%) and also contains calcium, iron, and potassium.
#8 Can I make my tacos ahead of time?
You can easily make the filling ahead of time, as well as the tomato salsa. In fact, if you make the filling the night before, the flavors will have even more time to blend so your tacos will be taste better!
#9 How can I make even faster tofu tacos?
You can speed things up by making your own taco seasoning ahead of time.
Combine equal amounts of chili powder, ground cumin, garlic powder, smoked paprika, and onion powder. Store in a glass jar or other airtight container in a cool, dry place. Your spice mixture will last for up to 6 months.
When ready to use, just add 10 tsp or a scant 1/4 cup of your mixture to the recipe. Easy!
#10 What can I do with leftover tofu filling?
Any leftover filling from your tofu tacos can be stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
#11 What other dishes can I make with the filling?
There are SO many options that I will list them here for you. You can also make:
- Mexican-style spaghetti! The filling makes a great topping for traditional pasta, gluten-free pasta, or spiralized zucchini.
- Enchiladas! To make enchiladas, fill corn tortillas with a healthy dollop of filling (adding beans and cheese if you wish) and roll up the tortilla. Lay the rolled tortillas across the bottom of a baking dish. Pour some enchilada sauce over the top and top with plenty of grated cheese (cheddar or dairy-free), and bake at 350°F until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbly (about 20-30 min).
- Huevos Rancheros! Heat up the filling and serve over eggs, with some fresh tomato salsa on the side. Mexican breakfast in a snap!
- Cheezy Fries! Serve a dollop of filling over fries with melted cheese.
- Nachos! Spread out some tortilla chips evenly over a lined baking tray. Cover with grated cheese and put under the broiler for a few minutes until the cheese has melted.
- Chili Burrito Bowls! Serve over cooked rice, quinoa, or buckwheat. And don't forget the cheese and cream on top. Tasty tacos, without the tortillas
- Crispy Tacos! Use hard corn shells for tacos. Put them on a baking sheet and heat them in the oven at 375°F for 5 min, or layer them with damp paper towels and heat for 30 seconds on high in the microwave.
#12 I have a vegan taco recipe that tells me to press the tofu. How do I do that?
The easiest way to press tofu is to use a tofu press, but if you don't have one available you can press your tofu like this: put the block on a plate, with another plate on top smashing the tofu. Put a heavy can on top of the upper plate. The weight of the can will press the excess water out of your tofu.
#13 I like crispy tofu tacos, how can I make the filling crispy?
For an extra-crispy vegan taco filling, pop the tofu mixture under the broiler for a few minutes.
#14 I have tortillas but they've gotten hard, how can I make my tortillas softer?
Here's how they do it in Mexico: Completly wet your stiff tortillas under the faucet (no we're not joking!). Then heat them over an open gas flame for a few minutes on both sides till soft.
#15 Anything I can use instead of tofu?
Tofu is really delicious in this recipe, but if you can't eat it or don't have tofu, you can substitute tempeh or any vegetarian substitute for ground beef (or ground beef of course, if you eat meat).